My name is Georgia and I am from Australian Catholic University’s Ballarat campus. I am a second year nursing student and I am currently in Paris on the inaugural intake of students for the CORE Paris Program. It is a 3 week long program in which you complete ACU’s core unit, UNCC300; understanding self and society in intensive mode. I’m going to give some helpful tips about various aspects of the trip that may assist people who are hoping to or going to undertake the program themselves.
Paris is a beautiful city, full to the brim with iconic monuments and many wonderful sights to see. Because the CORE Paris program runs over 3 weeks in an intensive mode, there is a lot of work to do in a very short period. The first week of the program is run in Australia via ACU’s online learning platform, LEO. You are asked to complete two of four learning modules before you arrive in Paris, then you are asked to complete the other 2 modules in Paris.
My tip related to the CORE Paris curriculum is:
- Try to complete as much of the coursework as possible before you leave Australia. There is so many sights to see and areas to explore in Paris, the last thing you want to be doing when you have an afternoon off is catching up on coursework! Plus, having completed the coursework you will be more prepared for class and more ready to participate in lively discussion.
Paris itself is a lively and diverse city. There are many differences between Paris and France and Australia in terms etiquette, manners, norms, respect and daily life. Here is some tips that I wish I knew before I set foot on French soil and that will hopefully help you should you participate in the CORE Paris program or ever visit France:
- Picking up a few basic phrases in the French language will get you a long way. The French have a reputation for being somewhat rude to tourists but in my experience if you have even a very feeble attempt at speaking their language they will be very appreciative and kind in return.
- The French people are very proud and always represent themselves very well. The dress code in Paris is much more formal than what you would see in Australia. The French do not wear leggings outside the house, they do not wear revealing clothes or short shorts and skirts and they do not wear runners. If you wear these things, like you might at home, you will stand out as a tourist which makes you a target for pickpockets and you may attract the odd sigh from the Parisian people!
- The metro system in Paris is fantastic. It is simple to navigate and will go to every corner of the city. I highly recommend learning how to use it.
- The weather in Paris is much like that of Australia, you can have four seasons in a day so always be prepared.
Paris is the most visited tourist city in the world. Because of this there is a whole industry built around tourists. Whilst Paris is very safe there are a few things you need to be mindful of, namely:
- Pickpockets; they are very quick so ensure you bag can shut and you are aware of it at all times.
- Trinket sellers outside major attractions; they are very pushy and it is easier to go to a small souvenir shop if you are after these items.
- Scams outside major attractions; namely Sacre Coeur, there are men who carry small woven bracelets and will try to put in on your wrist then demand payment, keep your arms to yourself and you won’t have a problem.
- Women outside major attractions who will try to get you to sign a petition or ask to borrow a pen; be very careful, they are trying to distract you and get you to open your bag so you can be pickpocketed.
Paris is a magnificent city and the CORE Paris program is a fantastic way to get to see it. Hopefully the above tips will help you should you one day visit Paris. Au Revoir!